the red pyramid
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Text copyright 2010 by Rick Riordan
All rights reserved. Published by Disney Hyperion Books, an imprint
of Disney Book Group. No part of this book may be reproduced or
transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including
photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system,
without written permission from the publisher. For information address
Disney Hyperion Books, 114 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10011-5690.
1 0 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Printed in the United States of America
Hieroglyph art by Michelle Gengaro-Kokmen
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data on file.
Table of Contents
1. A Death At The Needle
2. An Explosion For Christmas
3. Imprisoned With My Cat
4. Kidnapped By A Not-so-stranger
5. We Meet The Monkey
6. Breakfast With A Crocodile
7. I Drop A Little Man On His Head
8. Muffin Plays With Knives
9. We Run From Four Guys In Skirts
10. Bast Goes Green
11. We Meet The Human Flamethrower
12. A Jump Through The Hourglass
13. I Face The Killer Turkey
14. A French Guy Almost Kills Us
15. A Godly Birthday Party
16. How Zia Lost Her Eyebrows
17. A Bad Trip To Paris
18. When Fruit Bats Go Bad
19. A Picnic In The Sky
20. I Visit The Star-spangled Goddess
21. Aunt Kitty To The Rescue
22. Leroy Meets The Locker Of Doom
23. Professor Thoth's Final Exam
24. I Blow Up Some Blue Suede Shoes
25. We Win An All-expenses-paid Trip To Death
26. Aboard The Egyptian Queen
27. A Demon With Free Samples
28. I Have A Date With The God Of Toilet Paper
29. Zia Sets A Rendezvous
30. Bast Keeps A Promise
31. I Deliver A Love Note
32. The Place Of Crosses
33. We Go Into The Salsa Business
34. Doughboy Gives Us A Ride
35. Men Ask For Directions (And Other Signs Of The Apocalypse)
36. Our Family Is Vaporized
37. Leroy Gets His Revenge
38. The House Is In The House
39. Zia Tells Me A Secret
40. I Ruin A Rather Important Spell
41. We Stop The Recording, For Now
To all my librarian friends, champions of books, true magicians in the
House of Life. Without you, this writer would be lost in the Duat.
The following is a transcript of a digital recording. In certain places,
the audio quality was poor, so some words and phrases represent the
authors best guesses. Where possible, illustrations of important symbols
mentioned in the recording have been added. Background noises such as
scuffling, hitting, and cursing by the two speakers have not been
transcribed. The author makes no claims for the authenticity of the
recording. It seems impossible that the two young narrators are telling the
truth, but you, the reader, must decide for yourself.
C A R T E R
1. A Death at the Needle
WE ONLY HAVE A FEW HOURS, so listen carefully.
If youre hearing this story, youre already in danger. Sadie and I
might be your only chance.
Go to the school. Find the locker. I wont tell you which school or
which locker, because if youre the right person, youll find it. The
combination is 13/32/33. By the time you finish listening, youll know what
those numbers mean. Just remember the story were about to tell you isnt
complete yet. How it ends will depend on you.
The most important thing: when you open the package and find whats
inside, dont keep it longer than a week. Sure, itll be tempting. I mean, it will
grant you almost unlimited power. But if you possess it too long, it will
consume you. Learn its secrets quickly and pass it on. Hide it for the next
person, the way Sadie and I did for you. Then be prepared for your life to
get very interesting.
Okay, Sadie is telling me to stop stalling and get on with the story.
Fine. I guess it started in London, the night our dad blew up the British
My name is Carter Kane. Im fourteen and my home is a suitcase.
You think Im kidding? Since I was eight years old, my dad and I have
traveled the world. I was born in L.A. but my dads an archaeologist, so his
work takes him all over. Mostly we go to Egypt, since thats his specialty. Go
into a bookstore, find a book about Egypt, theres a pretty good chance it
was written by Dr. Julius Kane. You want to know how Egyptians pulled the
brains out of mummies, or built the pyramids, or cursed King Tuts tomb? My
dad is your man. Of course, there are other reasons my dad moved around so
much, but I didnt know his secret back then.
I didnt go to school. My dad homeschooled me, if you can call it
home schooling when you dont have a home. He sort of taught me whatever
he thought was important, so I learned a lot about Egypt and basketball
stats and my dads favorite musicians. I read a lot, toopretty much
anything I could get my hands on, from dads history books to fantasy
novelsbecause I spent a lot of time sitting around in hotels and airports
and dig sites in foreign countries where I didnt know anybody. My dad was
always telling me to put the book down and play some ball. You ever try to
start a game of pick-up basketball in Aswan, Egypt? Its not easy.
Anyway, my dad trained me early to keep all my possessions in a single
suitcase that fits in an airplanes overhead compartment. My dad packed the
same way, except he was allowed an extra workbag for his archaeology tools.
Rule number one: I was not allowed to look in his workbag. Thats a rule I
never broke until the day of the explosion.
It happened on Christmas Eve. We were in London for visitation day
with my sister, Sadie.
See, Dads only allowed two days a year with herone in the winter,
one in the summerbecause our grandparents hate him. After our mom died,
her parents (our grandparents) had this big court battle with Dad. After six
lawyers, two fistfights, and a near fatal attack with a spatula (dont ask),
they won the right to keep Sadie with them in England. She was only six, two
years younger than me, and they couldnt keep us bothat least that was
their excuse for not taking me. So Sadie was raised as a British schoolkid,
and I traveled around with my dad. We only saw Sadie twice a year, which
was fine with me.
[Shut up, Sadie. YesIm getting to that part.]
So anyway, my dad and I had just flown into Heathrow after a couple
of delays. It was a drizzly, cold afternoon. The whole taxi ride into the city,
my dad seemed kind of nervous.
Now, my dad is a big guy. You wouldnt think anything could make him
nervous. He has dark brown skin like mine, piercing brown eyes, a bald head,
and a goatee, so he looks like a buff evil scientist. That afternoon he wore
his cashmere winter coat and his best brown suit, the one he used for public
lectures. Usually he exudes so much confidence that he dominates any room
he walks into, but sometimeslike that afternoonI saw another side to him
that I didnt really understand. He kept looking over his shoulder like we
were being hunted.
Dad? I said as we were getting off the A-40. Whats wrong?
No sign of them, he muttered. Then he mustve realized hed spoken
aloud, because he looked at me kind of startled. Nothing, Carter.
Which bothered me because my dads a terrible liar. I always knew
when he was hiding something, but I also knew no amount of pestering would
get the truth out of him. He was probably trying to protect me, though from
what I didnt know. Sometimes I wondered if he had some dark secret in his
past, some old enemy following him, maybe; but the idea seemed ridiculous.
Dad was just an archaeologist.
The other thing that troubled me: Dad was clutching his workbag.
Usually when he does that, it means were in danger. Like the time gunmen
stormed our hotel in Cairo. I heard shots coming from the lobby and ran
downstairs to check on my dad. By the time I got there, he was just calmly
zipping up his workbag while three unconscious gunmen hung by their feet
from the chandelier, their robes falling over their heads so you could see
their boxer shorts. Dad claimed not to have witnessed anything, and in the
end the police blamed a freak chandelier malfunction.
Another time, we got caught in a riot in Paris. My dad found the
nearest parked car, pushed me into the backseat, and told me to stay down.
I pressed myself against the floorboards and kept my eyes shut tight. I
could hear Dad in the drivers seat, rummaging in his bag, mumbling
something to himself while the mob yelled and destroyed things outside. A
few minutes later he told me it was safe to get up. Every other car on the
block had been overturned and set on fire. Our car had been freshly washed
and polished, and several twenty-euro notes had been tucked under the
Anyway, Id come to respect the bag. It was our good luck charm. But
when my dad kept it close, it meant we were